COLOCYNTH 577 The Chemical Examiner of Bengal also describes the following two homicidal cases of "sui" poisoning : — A Santalin widow had some property and her husband's younger brother who was likely to inherit the property after her death, was not on good terms with her. So she had executed a deed adopting her brother's son. While asleep one night, an -unknown person came at midnight and gave a chati or slap of bish (poison) on her chest. She extricated the thorn-like substance from her chest and kept it. Next morning she went to her brother's house in another village. On the fifth day after the injury she felt serious pain in the chest and a local doctor was called in. She could then speak with great difficulty. She died on the seventh day after the injury. Abrus precatorius was detected in the thorn-like substance.1^ A Hindu woman was attacked by her nephews one night while sleeping and severely handled by them. They then ran away, and she felt a burning sensation over her body and found some broken pieces of a conical shaped substance stuck near her breast and other similar fragments in her bed. The woman did not die. Abrus precatorius was detected in the fragments.19 According to Rai Bahadur Bagchi, Chemical Examiner to the Govern- ment of Bengal, malingerers use the powdered seeds of Abrus precatorius to produce conjunctivitis. They take a little of the powder on the index finger and rub it gently on the inside of the lower eyelid and allow it to remain till they count ten. If the powder is kept longer, purulent ophthalmia may result. When taken internally by women, the seeds of Abrus precatorius disturb the uterine function and prevent conception.20 Hence they are sometimes made into pills and are sold as birth control pills. COLOCYNTH (BITTER APPLE, INDRAYAN) * This is the dried pulp of the fruit of Citrullug Colocynthis (N.O. Cucur- bitaceae), which grows widely throughout India. The pulp freed from its seeds is a pharmacopoeial drug, called Colocynthis (Colocynthtitis pulpa), and occurs as white, spongy, light fragments, having an intensely bitter taste. It is the chief ingredient of Extractum colocyntkidis compositum, the dose being 2 to 8 grains. Colocynthidis Pulvis (Powdered colocynth) is another pharmacopoeial preparation, which enters into the composition of Pilula colocyntkidis et hyoscyami, the dose being 4 to 8 grains. Both the extract and the pill are largely used as purgatives. The root and the fruit of the plant contain a glycoside colocynthin, which is amorphous or crystalline, bitter in taste and readily soluble in water and alcohol. It is a drastic purgative and acts as a powerful irritant to the alimentary canal, when taken in large doses. Symptoms.—Severe abdominal pain; vomiting of a yellow colour contain- ing mucus but no blood; frequency of watery, yellow coloured stools, often stained with blood; irregular pulse ; collapse and occasionally death. Fatal Dose and Fatal Period.—The fatal dose is about 15 to 30 grains, but recovery has occurred from much larger doses. The fatal period is usually within twenty-four hours, but may be delayed longer. Treatment—Empty the stomach, give morphine to allay pain and administer demulcents, astringents, and stimulants. Post-mortem Appearances.—Redness, inflammation and occasionally ulceration of the stomach and intestines. The liver and kidneys may be inflamed. 18. Annual Report, 1929, p. 14. 19. Annual Report, 1930, p. 10. 20. Kirtikar and Basu, Indian Medicinal Plants ; Bombay Chem. Analyser's Annual Rep., 1939, p. 6.